New CMS Tool Reveals Wide Medicare Racial Disparities

Apr 13, 2016

A snapshot of the tool, which can model several variables, including ethnic and racial background.
Credit Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

New data from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid brings greater insight into health disparities at the local level.

 There are wide gaps for minority groups in Rhode Island.

CMS’s new online mapping tool reveals serious differences between the health outcomes of black and white Medicare beneficiaries in Rhode Island over the past few years. For example, 32 percent of black Medicare beneficiaries in Rhode Island have diabetes, compared to 24 percent of white recipients. And blacks are twice as likely to be disabled as whites in Rhode Island’s Medicare population. Hospitalization and emergency room rates are also higher among blacks in this group.

Medicare’s new disparities data allows users to search and compare by chronic condition, location, and racial and ethnic background. It covers only Rhode Islanders who have Medicare, which includes the disabled and people over 65.